St Francis Church
900 H St
Bakersfield, CA 93304


1927 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Our mother passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving children and grandchildren, on November 2, 2016. Hazel was born on August 22, 1927 in Barranquilla, Colombia, South America, to parents Nicaulis O'Tolera and James Martin Dougherty.
In 1931, the family was relocated to Canyon City, Colorado, while James waited to be transferred with Standard Oil Company's Exploration Division. Hazel was four years old when she arrived in the United States, and her spoken language was Castilian Spanish. The family soon relocated to Southern California in 1932, where Hazel attended Kindergarten in Avenal. They eventually settled in Taft where she attended local elementary schools and Taft Union High School, graduating in 1945. While in high school, she was very active in sports. In her own words, "This was the major catalyst to become a P.E. teacher and attend the University of California, Berkeley." While in college she would work summers to earn money for school tuition and books. She enjoyed her employment at the Claremont Hotel in Oakland and worked nights at the United Nations (which at that time was headquartered in San Francisco).
She met her future husband, Stanley Kapral, while working as a draftsman for General Petroleum (today known as Mobil Oil Corporation). They were married July 31, 1948 in Taft, California. They transferred to Bakersfield in 1950. Mom's career was being a homemaker and mother to her 4 children. While working in her home, she held a day care license for 17 years. She was an excellent seamstress who designed beautiful garments for many Bakersfield women. She managed Rosemarie's Fine Fabrics and taught sewing classes. Later she went on to establish her own retail yardage shop, Golden Needle Chalet. She enjoyed taking clients to Los Angeles to purchase couture fabrics and patterns. Her greatest talent and labor of love were shown through the beautiful wedding dresses that she made for both of her daughters. She also designed and sewed cheerleading outfits for West High, Bakersfield High, and Garces Memorial High Schools in the 60's. She later worked for two engineering companies and retired from Soils Engineering in 1996 as a geotechnical secretary.
Mom loved to volunteer and spent many hours cooking and delivering food for Meals on Wheels. She was both a Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader, elementary class mom, and volunteer at Saint Francis School. Her many joys after retirement were to garden alongside our father. Her yard was a continuous colorful blanket of flowers. Mom was an excellent cook, always trying new recipes.
We are left with many fond family memories. Even though Hazel's heritage is South American, she learned her husband's Polish customs, especially at Christmas. Together they shared a love for Christmas, from the music and decorations, to spending hours in the kitchen making traditional Polish dishes such as Kapusta, Pierogis, Golumpkis and Kielbasa. Dad passed this rich tradition and the recipes on to our family. Now these traditions have transitioned to their children and grandchildren. While some family resides in different locations, our parent's traditions continue with honor and love.
Hazel was preceded in death by her loving husband of 66 years, Stan and is survived by four children and spouses: daughter Diana and husband Tom Mestmaker, son Tim and Sally Mason, son Robert and wife Coleen, and daughter Annette Quinn. "Nanny's" seven grandchildren: Tommy, Jeff, Alyssa, Kristin, Luke, Sinead, and Michelle will miss her greatly. Her sweet great grandchildren include: Madelyn, Miles, Merrick, Giulianna, twins Elijah and Liam, Julia, Jenna, John, and the birth of her tenth great-grandchild, due in November.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her name to Catholic Charities Bakersfield, 825 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, Ca. 93301 or the Honor Flight of Kern County, 8200 Stockdale Highway, Suite M-10, Box 255, Bakersfield, Ca. 93311.
The Kapral and Mestmaker family would like to especially thank Stephanie Cecconello, for her many years of dedicated love and support for both our father and mother. She was a tireless advocate for Hazel and the family. We love you! Also, many blessings to Hoffman Hospice nurses, Lori and Daisy, who were so kind and compassionate. Thank you to the staff at Brookdale Senior Living, where she resided the past 3 1/2 years.
A funeral mass will be held Monday, November 28th 2016, 9:00AM, at Saint Francis Church, 900 H Street, Bakersfield, California. Celebration of her life immediately following in the church hall. Internment at the National Cemetery at 1:15 PM.
Published in Bakersfield Californian from Nov. 13 to Nov. 27, 2016
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